Springtime Spruce-Up

I don’t know about you all, but I’m willing to bet you find our current self quarantine situation challenging too. We are struggling to adjust to working from home, homeschooling, and not being able to leave the house. In some ways, I am embracing it. I am an introverted homebody so I actually don’t mind the extra time at home. I’m also loving being able to have more time with my girls.

I’m also finding time to dive into some of my DIY projects. We’ve been working on our backyard lately. We had some flower beds that had been badly neglected.

Welcome to the jungle, we got weeds and rocks…

Well, now that’s just embarrassing. Random pole getting swallowed by a tree, more weeds than flowers and a broken birdbath? I don’t think it could be much worse.

We started by removing the random pole. It’s rained so much lately that I just rocked the pole back and forth and then pulled it up out of the ground.

Then, we removed the broken birdbath and took that thing to the dump. We trimmed the trees and pulled all the weeds. That took awhile. Lastly, we put down some fresh pine straw.

Whew! That’s better!

It’s amazing what only a few changes can make.

This is so much better.

What quarantine projects are you doing?
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Clean routines and parenting: keeping a weekly cleaning schedule

Trying to keep a tidy house is hard when you have small children. It’s even harder when you’re at home all the time with those small children, due to the coronavirus pandemic. We have always had a weekly cleaning schedule that worked pretty well for us, but now I’m making it a point to incorporate a little extra deep cleaning, in honor of the current pandemic.

Our weekly cleaning schedule is laminated, framed, and hanging in our laundry room.

This definitely doesn’t mean that we are perfect. Not even close. Even though this schedule is hanging on our wall in a frame, there are days when our stuff doesn’t get done and when we let messes linger for too long. And while the Friday chores are typically deep cleaning tasks, I’d gotten a little creative in how we deep clean these days.

Typically we spend two weekends a month deep cleaning. While we are at home self quarantining, we are choosing to vigilantly follow a deep cleaning schedule. We are following our daily task schedule, but we are mopping and cleaning bathrooms twice a week. We are also making it a point to remove shoes at the door and do a deep cleaning task every weekend instead of every other weekend. The kids and I are trying to work together to make the chore of the day happen.

We are also currently homeschooling and I’m teaching from home too. We are struggling to find the balance but we are OK. We are getting there and we are making it work.

And while we are on the subject of house cleaning to combat the germs, have you considered incorporating a little self care into your day? Staying home is not easy for some of us, and as a result, your mental state can suffer. Remember to do something that lifts you up each day- it could be something as simple as taking a walk or Facetime calling people you miss, to gardening, to reading a book, or taking a hot bath. Either way- don’t neglect YOU!

We will see you soon with our spring home tour! Until then, stay safe and stay healthy. Thanks for reading!

How to keep your routines and keep your sanity!!

I am sure this is true for all of you- but all of our usual activities are canceled. No school, no church, and no dance classes. No church and no fitness classes. We have been struggling to find ways to fill our time and make sure we stick to a reasonable routine.

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This schedule has been widely circulated on Facebook, and while it is a good model, we have been using the schedule below. I am a teacher and during the summer, we “light homeschool” our kids. We can’t truly call it homeschool because we don’t meet the hourly requirements for actual homeschool, but we do still sit down and do school for about three and a half to four hours a day. We use this schedule:

Please pardon the handwriting.

Following a more extensive schedule would be hard for us, and heaven knows a combination third grade, pre-k class throws up its own challenges. We chose a schedule that doesn’t look like much but works for us.

In addition to creating a schedule, there are some “distance education” resources for teaching your kids, worshipping and working out.

Education:

There are so many websites you can choose from to learn at home! If you want worksheets or written practice, check out K12 Learner or Super Teacher Worksheets.

But for more engaging, interactive learning, we like to use these sites:

No Red Ink– This website has kids fill in their own personal likes and interests, and then it creates sentences for them to correct, and it makes those sentences about the things they’re interested in. I use this at school in my classroom, too. Best of all, it’s free.

ReadWorks– This is a great website for test prep. You can assign passages by grade level, or you can assign them by topic. You can complete them online, or you can print them off. You can do a passage a day, or however you choose. You can also enable the “read-aloud” feature and the kids can listen and follow along while they read. It’s also free.

NatGeoKids– You can read and watch videos about animals, natural disasters, etc. You can take quizzes and play games.

PBS Kids– You can play games or watch videos. There are also clips from PBS kids shows that you can watch.

Storyline Online– Award-winning actors read children’s books aloud on this YouTube channel. The videos are entertaining and they’re animated, too.

Quizlet– This is great for studying words and definitions, math facts and spelling words. You can choose from flash cards, and two different games. There is both a free and a paid version.

Splash Math– This website is subscription based, but it isn’t expensive. Just select your kids’ grade, and they can practice math skills that are taught in their grade using games. It’s a lot of fun and my kid loves it. You can also set weekly goals, and the website will email you a report on what your kid completes each week.

ACT Academy– ACT Academy has games, lessons, videos, assessments, and more for all grade levels and all subject areas. There is a premium version where you have access to everything. I highly recommend getting the premium version, as we use this one a lot.

Worship

Of course, worship is best when you’re among your church family, but if your congregation includes elderly people, immunocompromised people, or young children, then you know this isn’t feasible right now. What you can do is start a new Bible study you can do with your church friends through Facetime or Facebook live. You an also find a plethora of churches offering online services. Here are some of the resources we are currently using:

YouTube– While I direct linked Lifeway Christian Resources, there are a number of great worship resources on YouTube. You can directly search for sermons by a pastor you love. I have enjoyed watching Charles Stanley and Josh McDowell while at home. You can also find Cedarrock Kids, Veggie Tales, and LifeTree Kids.

Children’s Sermons for Kids– These are short, scripture based and include a lot of activities that go right along with the sermon. They’re perfect for Sunday School lessons when we are back at church, too.

Exercise

Fitness Blender has free, full length workouts that are for all levels. There are a number of them available. There are workouts that use equipment, and workouts that don’t use equipment. Did I mention they are free?

You can also go outside and take a walk, if you get tired of being in the house.

Please comment below and share your favorite resources. I am always looking for new ideas.

Make a Fixer Upper Inspired Typography Sign

You all know by now how much I love signs with words and quotes. I also love Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper. I love the episode where she created this super cute atrium.

Source: HGTV

I loved everything about that cute little atrium, but I especially loved that cute “herboriste” sign. I tried in vain to find one but then decided to create my own.

I dig into my scrap lumber and found the perfect board.

I decided it needed a border so I taped it off with painters tape.

I cut out the word “herboriste” and placed it where I wanted it.

I busted out my old standby, a can of spray paint in one of my favorite colors.

I went to work painting the boards and removed the cut out letters, then traced the letters and filled them in with black paint.

I absolutely love how it turned out.

I think it makes a great addition to our patio.

What projects have you completed recently?

Five creative spring gardens

The temperatures are still a little cool around here to start setting out spring flowers, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t started thinking about what I want to plant.

I’ve recently happened upon all sorts of neat ideas for turning things into unique planters. Recycling unwanted household items by filling them with beautiful flowers is a win-win situation, in my opinion.

Chair turned planter

My grandpa gave me this cute old chair. It had a metal slat seat in it. I took the seat out and popped a planter into it. Doesn’t it look cute with this fern in it?

Wash tub planter (source)

I want an old washtub so I can do this! Wouldn’t that be cute?

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This toolbox planter is absolutely adorable.

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I need a carriage now so I can plant flowers in it.

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I have never thought about planting anything in a flour sifter but this is pretty cute!

I hope you all have a great week! Join us on Friday for our spring home tour.